Challenges, Opportunities, and Learnings in Communication and Community Engagement and Accou
During the 2020 Hurricane Season, the Community Engament and Accountability team in the Americas had three key learnings for the current season: being prepared, building relationships and knowing our communities; setting up a feedback mechanism, since gathering feedback leads to strong operations; and working across sectors, which is crucial to response operations. In regard to lessons learned in the public communications area, three key points emerged:
Media coverage has changed: Covid-19 related restrictions have changed the way media used to cover emergencies and disasters.
Mobiles are the main channel: Most of the images, videos and testimonials are gathered and shared using mobile devices and chat apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram.
Being prepared for the comms response: the Covid-19 context has boosted the creativity and flexibility of the Red Cross’ comms work and confirmed the need of preparing for response.
With the upcoming season, internal and external communications and cocreation with National Societies will be crucial for content development, collect information, and develop multiple resources.
How should we prepare for the 2021 season? Collect secondary data about previous emergencies, review lessons learned, work together with different sectors within the Red Cross as well as other organizations, and use data and feedback for decision making.
During the session, three specific experiences of community participation were presented that can inspire other Red Cross groups in the region, such as the application of surveys among the migrant population in Trinidad and Tobago and the use of WhatsApp as a feedback mechanism in Peru and Chile. In Peru, this platform serves for decision-making and to promote dialogue with the migrant community, while in Chile it allows to attend to and understand the information needs of citizens about COVID-19 and vaccination, among other key issues.